“A house constitutes a body of images that give mankind proofs or illusions of stability.”

-Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

The Pit is pleased to announce Praying to Hallucinations and Getting Results, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles based artist Benjamin Weissman.  The exhibition will run from June 22 – July 27, with a public reception from 4-7pm on Saturday June 22, 2019.  The exhibition will consist of a new body of works on paper, small sculptures, and an architectural installation in The Pit gallery.   

In this exhibition, Weissman’s first solo exhibition at The Pit, large works on paper and small sculptural elements converse with each other. Many of the works on paper, which combine drawing and painting, employ texts. These texts are drawn from a variety of sources, including dictionary definitions, literary fragments, Weissman’s own writing, and the poetry of Amy Gerstler. Wandering through the cheerfully chaotic drawings, the texts interact with the drawings’ insanely colored fairy tale environments. The lyrical phrases that appear in these works on paper either follow the twists and turns created by swathes of paint, graphically enacting a kind of coincidental homage to the Zuihitsu, or the texts deviate from those brushstroke roads and find their own places in the compositions. The Zuihitsu is a classic genre of Japanese literature. The word is usually translated as “following the brush” and the Zuihitsu is a kind of loose, fragmented essay: associative, non-linear, and open-ended, in which the writer allows herself fancies, tangents, flights, and digressions. The interplay between image and text may cause re-routings, paradigm shifts, or reframings of the pieces’ takes on being animate and animal, the vagaries of mating, and collisions between the quote unquote natural and human worlds.  Other themes in the show include animals as messengers, harbingers, beings who bear witness or warnings; and the yearning for stability and spiritual grounding in a chaotic world full of threat, turbulence, and doom. Humans rarely appear in these drawings and sculptures, and when they do they are either lying on the ground, dead, or catapulted into the air. 

Scaled to the size of the human hand or birds’ nests, Weissman’s objects—huts, shacks, barns, cabins and lean-tos—are constructed almost entirely from materials scavenged from nature: pine needles, sticks, leaves, wood chips, pine cones, pumice, pencils, pencil shavings, small stones, and stubs of marijuana cigarettes. Both the drawings and sculptures address the longing for safety and shelter. The derelict houses in both the sculptures and drawings contain and emanate dark, witchy secrets, superstition, the repressed, the unspoken and the unsayable. As they interact with the drawings, the houses maybe seem to become animate beings.

“A dream. (About small houses built of stones, easily dismantled overnight and carried off in wagons, to be rebuilt elsewhere, and then again dismantled, and in each dismantling the chalky substance of the stone erodes a little bit more until the house is so small that it’s not a house anymore… If the houses are made to be dismantled, impermanent, and if by dismantling the houses time and time again they erode into dust, then mustn’t we let them? That’s what they’re made to do. If we don’t want our houses to erode then we must in the first place, make them in a different way. But surely we can’t preserve houses that were built to disappear.”

Miriam Toews, Women Talking

Benjamin Weissman’s drawings recently appeared in exhibitions at Rude Drawing, The Pit, and in 2017 a sprawling solo exhibition at The Box, titled We Never Kissed. His collaborations with Yutaka Sone, Paul McCarthy and Jim Shaw have been shown in a variety of gallery and museum venues internationally. He is the author of two books of fiction, most recently Headless. His writing about art, books, skiing and pornography have appeared in numerous publications including Artforum, The Believer, Bomb, Freeze, Frieze, McSweeney’s, Parkett, Powder, Purple, Spin, and Surfing.  

Press and collector inquiries can email Adam Miller at adam@the-pit.la